The biggest German reservoir of crude oil can be found at Mittelplate, seven kilometres off the North Sea coast at the southern edge of the Wadden Sea Tidelands National Park in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. The oil is located in the pores of the sandstone layers at a depth of between 2,000 and 3,000 metres. To obtain the oil the reservoir has been tapped since October 1987. DEA Deutsche Erdoel AG as operator and Wintershall Holding GmbH as the partner have produced more than 30 million tons of oil since the beginning of production.
High investments in safety and environmental protection
From the planning and the development of the Mittelplate Drilling and Production Island to production, a worldwide-unique safety concept has been realised to meet the high environmental protection requirements of the national park. So far more than a billion euros has been invested. A considerable part of this investment sum has been used for continuous improvement of work safety and for environmental protection. In this respect Mittelplate sets standards for the environmentally compatible production of crude oil.
Germany's biggest and most productive oilfield
The oil reserves of the Mittelplate oilfield are important. In addition to the 30 million tons of oil already produced, a further 20 to 25 million tons are estimated as being technically and economically recoverable. Accounting for around half of the national oil reserves, the Mittelplate project has been planned on a long-term and future-oriented basis.
The development of increasingly efficient drilling and production technology has allowed the initial production quantities of the Mittelplate field to be notably increased. Whereas to start with the production rate was around 200,000 tons of oil a year, this volume had been increased to over 2 million tons by the year 2003. Then production began to decline due to the natural depletion of the reservoir, and in the year 2014 was around 1.3 million tons.
Since the year 2000, to further increase the volume of oil production, drilling has no longer been undertaken solely offshore. By means of very long horizontal, extended-reach drilling the eastern part of the reservoir has also been developed from the mainland. This offshore-onshore combination allows optimum production of the Mittelplate oil.
A network of facilities for oil production, processing and transportation
The locations of the Mittelplate Drilling and Production Island seven kilometres from the coast in the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea, the Dieksand Land Station near Friedrichskoog and the refinery at Heide.
Domestic oil production strengthens the region
- More than 50 percent of Germany's domestic oil production comes from the Mittelplate field.
- The oil production secures many jobs in the region. More than 1,000 people are employed in the processing of the crude oil and its follow-up products.
- The royalties payable on the production volumes serve the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein as a secure source of income.